Listening to Your Kids: Slow Down, Mom!
With three kids and an errand list longer than the Great Wall of China, I’ve found that I sometimes lose sight of the things that are really important in life.
As I rush down the aisles of a store to get the shopping done “real quick” or rush my kids into the car after school, I’m often only thinking about what needs to be done and how fast I can get it done- with kids in tow.
As Moms, our hectic schedules sometimes don’t allow for the luxury of stopping to “smell the roses”, but I’ve learned how important this can be. No matter what’s on your list or what’s going on around you, slowing down to listen to your little ones is so important and I’ve learned the hard way. If you need a reminder, here it is: Slow down, Mom! Make sure you are really listening to your kids!
No One Has Time for That
A few months ago, my daughter and I were running errands. I had a fussy infant with me and I (as always) was in a rush. I stopped off at the UPS store to mail a package when my infant started fussing. I was trying to talk to the customer service representative over the fussing as my 6-year-old was browsing the items they had for sale. There was a long line, it was hot and I just needed to get out of there.
As I was finishing up with the representative, my daughter came up to me and said, ”Look Mommy!” She had a card in one hand and a pen in the other. Without even looking in it, I knew she scribbled in it. As I quickly grabbed the card from her, I saw a flash of something scribbled on the inside and I immediately started reprimanding her. Now I was going to have to pay for this overpriced card- and worse, I would possibly have to go to the back of the line to do so… with my fussy infant.
Slow Down, Mom!
Running the risk of getting annoyed looks from the people in line behind me, I quickly turned to the representative and said, “She wrote in this- I have to buy it now” and handed the card over. I continued to scold my daughter and turned to apologize to the people behind me for my daughter’s mishap (and their extended wait). The rep looked
The rep looked inside the card and said, “Please just take it.” I asked if she was sure- I could pay for it, etc… She said, “No, just take it- it’s for you.” When she handed me the card, I opened it and saw that the “scribble” my 6-year-old had “ruined” the card with was actually a picture of a heart with the words, “I love you, Mom!” written above it.
I felt horrible. I teared up then, and as I’m writing this post, my heart is still breaking for my daughter and what I must’ve made her feel like at that moment. Not only did I dismiss her loving message to me, I made her feel horrible for having done it and furthermore, I apologized for her “behavior” to the STRANGERS behind us. She must’ve felt completely heartbroken and embarrassed. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for that.
Back to Basics
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I visualized raising an independent, loving, respectful, contributing member of society. I had all these ideas about how I would handle things wonderfully as a parent. After I had my second baby, I realized that the stress of raising kids is something you know nothing about until you’ve experienced it for yourself. After my third baby, I quickly realized how patience was truly a virtue. I never considered how the typical day-to-day chaos could be potentially damaging to my children’s self-esteem.
I’m learning as I go and they are, too- so it’s important to teach them right. These lessons start with us and the example we set through basic, daily interactions. Their thoughts, ideas, feelings and opinions matter. We need to slow down and listen to them.
What’s Really Important…
My daughter and her feelings are so much more important to me than a package, a $6 card, or the strangers waiting impatiently behind me. I don’t want her to think that I don’t love and appreciate the gift she gave to me or the things that are important to her.
In my mind, that day was about me and doing what I had to do quickly while pulling her along. In her world, she was taking it slow, observing life, enjoying her “outing” with her Mom and creating a gift of love- not realizing the “adult” logistics of it all.
I’ve learned the hard way that although life gets crazy sometimes, we need to make the conscious effort to slow down and listen to our kids, even if the time is inconvenient. We need to consider their thoughts and feelings before reacting. We’ll never get any of these moments back with our children and should savor every moment.Even when life gets crazy- here's why you need to slow down and listen... Click To Tweet
What kinds of simple things do you do as a parent to show your kids that you love them?